Improving school performance is largely a process of reducing the gap between actual practice and the most effective practice. In other words, change in practice is the core driver of school improvement. This is true for an SEA and LEA as much as a school, or even an individual. Improvement is a process of knowing what is working and what needs to change, developing a sound plan, including more effective practices in the plan, implementing the plan, and using data to make timely adjustments to improve outcomes. Recently, several sound resources were created by three organizations to help SEAs, LEAs and schools improve. It is critical to integrate these resources to support improvement efforts with a focus on effective practice, responsive supports, and performance in a systemic way. Although the focus of this document is on school improvement, the approach is to improve the system that includes the SEA, LEA, and school, and the improvement processes generally apply to all three levels.
This document draws from and integrates five resources into a concise and practical guide for constructing a “Strategic Performance Network”—a cohesive system of support for improvement— explicating the roles of the SEA, LEA, and school. The Strategic Performance Network is a performance management approach that interconnects the SEA, LEA, and schools to address necessary improvements. The resulting system of support aligns with the ideas presented in CCSSO Principles of Effective School Improvement Systems which are based on current research, evidence, and experience in building effective systems to address low performing schools (CCSSO, 2017)